"VTEC just kicked in, yo." What's now a tired meme was once the greatest part of Honda ownership: the abrupt switch in power and tone as the engine's variable valve timing switched to the high-rev profile. The original VTEC gave way to i-VTEC, a continuously-variable system that works better on paper, but lacked the two-mode thrill. Fast forward to the 2015 Civic Type R, which combines modern VTEC with turbocharging for the first time on this nameplate. It's a pair as perfect as peanut butter and jelly. Or Han and Chewie. With ratings of 306 horsepower and 295 pound-feet, it's the most powerful Civic ever sold. Boost just kicked in, yo. The Civic Type R has always been an object of unfulfilled desire for enthusiasts in the US and Canada. While Europe and Japan have had multiple generations of the hottest Civic, we made do with the less powerful versions carrying the Si badge. Unfortunately, the 2015 model is another one we can't have. That said, this Euro-spec car's heart will form the basis of a new Civic Type R that's coming to America, possibly as early as 2016 as a 2017 model. The US will even get a cool five-door hatchback shell similar to the one you see here. If the next North American model – previewed by the coupe concept from this year's New York Auto Show – is any indication, our tenth-generation Civic is headed in a welcome styling direction. And before the Type R arrives, sweet turbo/VTEC goodness is promised in the form of a 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine that will power less sporty Civic models, including an Si that will slot below the Type R. There is an anchor's worth of stopping power available. Proving how focused the new Type R is towards gearheads, the sole transmission option is a six-speed manual, which makes it easy to exploit the engine's 7,000 rpm redline and 6,500 rpm power peak. This engine-speed ceiling is a thousand revs lower than the last naturally aspirated Type R. Indeed, the era of turbocharging seems like the end of Honda's history of screaming high-rev motors. But forced induction trades revs for torque. The new car has more than twice the oomph of the previous, 198-hp Type R. Our question then, is if that power and torque come with any character. The 2015 Honda Civic Type R is a very capable car, both on the street and at the track. We expected a stiff ride, but it's not bone-jarring. Double-jointed front struts and a clever knuckle design isolate steering from the up-and-down movement of the suspension. A set of 19-inch wheels come shod with high-performance 235/35 Continental tires. It all adds up to a clear intent for Type R's handling to match its impressive power. Honda equips its latest Euro-spec Civic with Agile Handling Assist, which brakes the inside front wheel when cornering, and that system carries over to the Type R. There's also a mechanical limited slip differential as opposed to the …
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|MPG||22 City / 31 Hwy|
|Transmission||6-spd man w/OD|
|Power||205 @ 7000 rpm|
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